Zain Group, a leading provider of innovative technologies and digital lifestyle communications operating in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa announces the final scores of Global Child Forum’s The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2023, in which the company was ranked among the top five global Telecom companies and 21st across all sectors amongst nearly 3,000 of the largest global companies.
Zain scored higher than the sector average and doubled the ranking of many regional corporates in key children’s rights categories. Described as a ‘Leader’ in the benchmarking rankings, Zain scored 8.4/10 overall against an ICT sector average of 5.8/10 and a regional average of just 3.4/10. The average of all global companies benchmarked stood at 4.9/10.
Founded in 2009 by the Swedish Royal Family, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and businesses dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking.
The results are included within Global Child Forum’s “The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2023” report conducted in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group. Global Child Forum assessed how companies implement children’s rights, and sustainability governance using publicly available data. This global study covered nine sectors and assessed companies against 25 indicators.
As a ‘Leader’, Zain was described in the report as a company that “has developed and implemented several policies and practices that address your organization’s impact on children’s rights across several important areas. Your company has taken concrete steps to move beyond policies and have embedded children’s rights into company practice, following-up through monitoring, transparent reporting and programs to create action for children’s rights.”
Through Zain’s community-oriented and child wellbeing initiatives, the company looks to continue to improve and safeguard the livelihoods of the communities it serves and beyond. This notable benchmarking recognition helps assess Zain’s progress to-date in children’s rights and safety and inspires the company to do even better in the future.
Child Online Safety is of great importance for Zain given that over 30% of all internet users are estimated to be children and given the expansion of broadband access, this number is only set to rise over time. Zain is fully committed to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.2 calling on ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.
Zain scored perfect marks in several categories in the Benchmarking exercise, including Standards & Guidelines; Board accountability; Materiality assessment; Supplier assessment; Grievance mechanisms; Collaboration; Product safety; Policies & commitments; and Resource use and damage to the environment, cementing its position as a leading proponent of corporate governance, sustainability, children’s rights, and sound business practices.
Following the feedback from the report, the next step advised for Zain was to address remaining gaps in its practice, strengthen and maintain performance where it is already doing well, and embrace its leadership on children’s rights issues.
Zain firmly believes that children and youth are the cornerstone of any progressive society, and has made uplifting young people through digitization and protecting them from the perils of digital transformation a central theme of the company’s activities. As part of its ambition to provide meaningful connectivity, the company will continue to build public awareness to draw attention to highly relevant issues such as child online safety and much more.
With the aim to further raise awareness on children’s rights and online safety, Zain expanded its partnership with Child Helpline International to support child helplines across its operational countries. This partnership aims to enhance collaboration between child helplines, Zain and key child protection stakeholders, explore new technologies and software to enhance the helplines, create awareness campaigns, and expand services to include instant messaging and social media.
Zain has been actively working on implementing child sexual abuse material blocking mechanisms across its operations. In 2020, the company assessed the regulations and existing blocking mechanisms in each market. As a result, Zain established a goal for all its markets to have CSAM blocking mechanisms in place. Currently, 5 out of 7 operations fully integrated blocking controls for child sexual abuse materials in a bid to ensure such content is never displayed in Zain’s network.